Age on State ID Lowered; Design Prevents Liquor Purchase

A new Massachusetts law has dropped the age for getting a state-issued identification card from 16 to 14, allowing everyone old enough to get a worker’s permit to also get an ID establishing their name, address and date of birth. It also provides official information to police enforcing curfew laws.

The law change was pushed by Rep. John Fresolo, D-Worcester. He initially was told teens needed an ID to get a worker’s permit. He later found out that wasn’t the case, but believed offering the cards to teens as soon as they can legally work made sense. Worker’s permits, which are issued by schools, can be granted starting at 14.

Massachusetts charges $25 for official identification cards, which are issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Those issued to people under 21 are printed vertically, so they cannot be used for illegal liquor purchases. The rest are printed horizontally, just like a driver’s license.

Applicants can obtain the cards only after meeting the same requirements for a driver’s license: a birth certificate and Social Security card, as well as a parental signature on the applications forms of those under age 18.

People lacking a Social Security number must bring in a denial letter from the federal government, as well as a valid visa, I-94 form or a noncurrent U.S. passport.

Successful applicants then have their picture taken, introducing their personal information into the Registry database two years earlier than previously allowed.

“This new eligibility requirement fills a void that has long been needed,” said MassDOT Registrar Rachel Kaprielian. “We’ve had to turn away a number of adolescents under age 16 hoping to acquire an official photo ID because they are looking for summer work or were involved in an intern program.”

Fresolo, who sponsored the change, said: “You go in with a picture ID as opposed to some other form of identification, it’s a lot easier for the person issuing a work permit.”

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